One of the non-founding Board Directors, Andrew Miller, gives his impressions of Keytree as they receive their 20th SAP Award, ten years after their first, and why in his thirty-year career he has never met the likes of Keytree before.
I joined Keytree in January 2013, having met a number of the team during my 10 years at SAP. While I had a great time and today still have many friends in SAP, I had been considering a smaller entrepreneurial organisation for my future and one that was still part of the SAP ecosystem. I cornered Tim Kyle at an SAP Innovation event at Old Billingsgate Market and a number of months later we finally sealed the deal.
Winding forward to 2020, we received our 20th SAP Award – SAP Pinnacle Award 2020: SAP Cloud Platform Partner of the Year. Certainly, we think one of our finest, as it’s the closest we can get to winning an Oscar – its global, multi-category with 20,000+ partners eligible for consideration. Receiving this award got me thinking not only about the number of awards we had received, but also the variety, so I thought I would give my impressions of Keytree with our awards as a backdrop to the story.
The true early days were all about getting results for our clients. Founded by three SAP consultants, Dan McNamara, Tim Kyle and Anthony Aughterson, it was never mind about making a splash out of achievements but keeping an undiluted focus on delivering quality with speed and flexibility in order to stand-out from the crowd. There was no marketing to speak of, with all new work coming from referrals, but about 10 years ago there was a realisation that if we worked with our clients to write-up our mutual successes, we could spread the word more broadly; and so began our first successes with the SAP Quality Awards.
At about the same time (bear in mind this all pre-dates my arrival), we also wanted to engage our UX, design and engineering teams to help them stretch themselves and enter the competitive world that was DemoJam at SAP TechEd. Another extraordinary journey commenced with some of our brightest minds competing each year for the coveted DemoJam (and latterly InnoJam) trophies. I remember most vividly the Las Vegas competitions, because once a year we would wake-up in London to find-out how we had faired and scramble to watch the video repeat as we reached the office. We started in 2011 and took part every year until the competition stopped in 2016 – winning every one!
The world of digital was a big part of our business and back then, much of our work was outside SAP application software with the design and build of portals and mobile apps often combining SAP landscapes with a variety of engines, gateways and services to deliver a high-performing, consumer-grade experience – for business users and consumers alike. We were also working closely with SAP development teams on Project River (the forerunner to SAP Cloud Platform). As we moved into 2013, we received the EMEA Innovation Partner of the Year award reflecting not only the nature of the work we were delivering but also a reflection that we were no longer simply operating in the UK. Continuing to win SAP Quality Awards into 2014, our digital capabilities resulted in us receiving Gold and Silver Quality awards for Mobile Innovation from SAP UKI and SAP EMEA respectively.
Never losing the innovation thread, with DemoJam and non-SAP competitions such as Mastercard’s Masters of Code (for which we were London winners) keeping us sharp, the business grew, and with it so did the scope of our projects and the introduction of a Managed Service operation. The introduction also of a Cloud Hosting capability in 2016 meant that we were able to advise, design, build and run bottom-to-top technical and application landscapes for our clients – from the chipset upwards.
SAP CLOUD PLATFORM
This led us to the very exciting year of 2017 when as a result of our comprehensive use of SAP Cloud Platform – from extensions for SAP, to integration to product development platform – we received the EMEA Excellence Award for SAP Cloud Platform and made our way to the Finalist’s podium for the Pinnacle Awards in the same category.
With the growth of our team combined with the increased range of services we could now offer, our implementations of ERP for which we had already won SAP Quality awards, shifted a gear as SAP HANA emerged, and with Gregg’s we won the SAP EMEA Gold Quality Award for Business Transformation – the highest award available. With the advent of what is now S/4 HANA Essentials we received a silver award for Fast Delivery the following year for a US/EMEA implementation at Pladis.
With our full-service capability now proven, it seemed a natural extension to consider product development. Our first initiatives started back in 2015 and true to form, there is nearly always some SAP application or technology in the architecture somewhere. Our SAP Qualified Package Solutions for S/4 in Retail, CPG and Professional Services are relatively new to market, with KIT an SAP AppCenter product helping some of the world’s leading retailers adapt in these uncertain times. Matrix Booking however was our first product, developed on SAP Cloud Platform, for which we received Winner of the BiFM Workplace Impact Award in 2016 and EuroFM Awards Facilities Management Innovation Winner in 2017.
BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION, FAST DELIVERY & S/4 HANA
Today, over half our revenues come from the implementation and support of SAP S/4, SuccessFactors and C/4 applications with our SAP product revenues for KIT and Matrix Booking making a very positive impact too. But, let me finish where I started, which is the DNA of the organisation being innovation and delivery. We have connected drones to S/4 for inventory management, applied Machine Learning to high-end fashion and two of our most recent awards are back to our innovation roots – we received the SAP UKI Gold Quality Award for Innovation in 2018 for our work with Sports and Wellbeing Analytics and their Protecht Intelligent Mouthguard and we won the SAP Prince’s Trust InnovationX challenge with Shell – right back into the competition space in 2019!
Having never written a line of code or answered a support ticket, let alone step onto an SAP TechEd stage to compete against the brightest and best of the SAP ecosystem, I hope I can be forgiven for congratulating those who have. An organisation made up of straight-forward, highly-experienced individuals, it is still evident in the business today that this was all started by hands-on SAP consultants, who, along with a some notable additions along the way, continue to lead the business today with the same passion that they always have.
ALREADY OLD NEWS
At the time of writing we have just received SAP Award #21, with our Keytree Bangalore team winning the SAP EMEA Hackathon “Intelligent Enterprise for SuccessFactors 2020”. Well, that’s ruined my #20 strapline!
Of course, the awards don’t stop at SAP, and if I can pick out just one that is close to all our hearts, that is the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Innovation together with Plan Zheroes – the zero food-waste charity that we support.
For a full list of Keytree awards, please visit https://www.keytree.com/who-we-are/awards/